Chapter 1 - Mercutio: Lower Decks- Christmas Eve

Statzia strode onto the Bridge, a warm cup of Vulcan tea in her hand. As expected, with it being the Earth holiday of Christmas Eve, the bridge was staffed with a minimal crew, and most of the crew members were non-humans. She gave a nod to the Lieutenant sitting in the main chair and made her way back to one of the secondary stations that she tended to commandeer for Intelligence. She saw the young woman stand but didn’t think anything of it as she made her way to her seat.

At the clear of a throat, Statzia turned. “Yes?”

The Lieutenant gestured to the center seat. At Statzia’s confusion, and likely sensing her apprehension, the young Betazoid woman chuckled. “You are the ranking officer tonight, Commander.”


Statzia blinked. She looked around the room at all of the young faces that, suddenly, were all looking at her. She really was the highest-ranking officer in the room. “Oh.” She took a breath as she made her way down the ramp. Noticing the eyes of the room still on her, she cleared her own throat. “As you were.”

The Betazoid Lieutenant seemed to relax as Statzia seated herself, and she took a seat to Statzia’s right. “So, I gather nobody told you that you were on watch?”

A hint of a smile played at the corner of Statzia’s lips. “Someone conveniently left that out when I volunteered for Christmas Eve.” She ran her fingertips along the small console before looking up and taking in the view from the Captain’s chair. “This…would be a first for me, Lieutenant…?”

If the Betazoid sensed the trepidation that Statzia was feeling, she didn’t react. “It’s Lieutenant Ansom.” The woman turned her attention to the main viewscreen, which was monitoring the shuttle still held a close proximity. “I would think that your first time in the Command chair would be cause for a celebration, Commander Liski.”


Statzia waved her off as she took a long sip of her tea. “Only reason I’m here is to give the rest of the command structure the human holiday.”


Lieutenant Ansom tapped the small console by her chair. “And you aren’t celebrating?”

“Lieutenant Commander Liski is practically a Ferengi!” chimed in the Coridanite Ensign sitting at the Engineering station. At the sideways glance from Statizia, he quickly turned back to his station, attempting to look busy.

“Do they not celebrate Christmas on Ferenginar?” asked the petite Tellarite Ensign sitting at the helm.

“Oh, they do. But not in the sense that you would think.” Statzia took a deep sip from her cup again. Realizing that the bridge crew was once again looking her way, she gave an inward sigh that she was sure Lieutenant Ansom would pick up on. “Rule of Acquisition number Fifty-Five. Take joy from profit, and profit from joy. So, if you can convince the hu-mans to spend money on cheap baubles under the guise of commercial consumerism…”


“I bet you’re a joy to have at a Christmas party,” quipped a male Algolian with Lieutenant Junior Grade pips at the Science station, earning a soft round of chuckles from the Bridge crew. 


“So, what did the Chief get you for Fesen Mreth?” asked the Coridanite Ensign, a smirk on his face. “He’s been fussing with that package for the last week, and we’re all–” He looked up, saw all of the stares of the rest of the bridge crew, spotted the not-so-subtle stop motion from the Angolian, and he once again turned his attention to his console.

Statzia sighed. Before her untimely demise, the counselor had been working with her on building social interactions with crew members. Practicing idle conversation had been one of their focal points since her return to the Federation fold. “The Chief got me–made me a necklace. I suppose now the next time we–” She paused. She had almost mentioned going to the ballet. She supposed that with the Counselor gone– “I’ll have to find an occasion to wear it.”


Lieutenant Ansom gave a gentle smile. Statzia was inwardly grateful that she was the only telepath on the Bridge crew, and doubly grateful that she was being tactful about Statzia’s inward discomfort. “So, what did you get the Chief?”


Statzia almost dropped her mug of tea into her lap. “The Chief?”


The Lieutenant leaned on the armrest of her chair. “For Christmas. Or…” She waived her hand in the direction of the Engineering station. 


Fesen Mreth!”  The Coridanite was more than happy to volunteer the information.

Statzia stiffened. She wasn’t used to divulging personal information about herself, and certainly not to a room full of junior officers. Once again, the eyes of the room were on her. “I–” She took a breath, sensing the hint of a nod from the Betazoid to her right. “I got the Chief a ceremonial Caitian knife. I–-had to jump through a lot of hoops to find one.” She forced a smile on her face. “He seemed to like the gift.”

What had Millie told her to do next?

“So…” Statzia gave a nod to the Coridanite, who seemed to be the most talkative of the bunch. “Do they have some kind of a Yule or…Winter holiday on Coridan?”

The Coridanite seemed to perk up. Statzia half-tuned him out as he started extolling the extent of the Winter solstice celebrations on his homework, and the rest of the crew began to exchange stories back and forth from their own holidays on their respective homeworlds.

Lieutenant Ansom smirked and gave a barely detectable nod, settling comfortably into her chair and turning her attention back to the information on her seat’s console. 


Statzia sat quietly, watching the shuttle on the viewscreen. She didn’t like the tradeoff that was going to occur in the next few hours. She was going to be gaining a family, and the Counselor’s girl was going to lose her daughter so soon after losing Millie. 


“I know,” said the Betazoid next to her, following her gaze to the viewscreen.